What Will the End of the Year Bring?

It's highly unlikely that Congress and President Obama will come up with a fiscal cliff bill to deal with the national deficit - and even more unlikely a farm bill will be included. However - House Ag Ranking Member Collin Peterson says he is not worried about a bill being passed before next year.

With a failed plan by Speaker of the House John Boehner last week - there's no clear plan for the Senate and President Obama. The House has already adjourned - but Senators will return to Capitol Hill on Thursday - leaving four work days before the end of the year - and the end of the 112th Congress. If the House is needed back - Boehner says he will reconvene - but the House Ag and Senate Ag-passed farm bills will die in less than a week without any action - and that brings even more problems.

Without a new farm bill or an extension of the current law - ag policy will revert back to 1949 policy - which would raise milk prices significantly. Based on that fact - Senate Ag Chair Debbie Stabenow says a fiscal cliff deal needs to be passed with a farm bill attached.

Peterson objects to the term going over the cliff because if everything expires - he says nothing dramatic happens. Taxpayers' withholding will increase a bit - according to Peterson - but the sequestration cuts don't immediately go into effect.

Even though the U.S. Department of Agriculture has to implement 1949 law on January 1st without a new or extended bill - Peterson notes some economists have said it shouldn't affect dairy prices until May or June.

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